This WMA is perfect for the paddle angler.
Say “PAC,” and many kayak anglers instantly have flashes of catching limits of reds and trout. Generically called PAC, this area in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes includes the 33,000-acre Point-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area about 15 miles south of Houma.
This state-owned area is primarily thought of for waterfowl hunting, but savvy kayak fishermen know it as a shallow water fishing mecca.
Easily accessed by paddle craft, “PAC” provides year-round fishing opportunities.
“This has become my favorite place to kayak fish,” said Gairi Williamson of Kenner. “It’s an easy ride from home, and when I head to PAC, I know I’m going to catch fish.
“I love fishing there year-round, but especially in the fall and winter.”
PAC is comprised of mostly marsh, but is interspersed with numerous ponds, bayous and canals. This variation from shallow ponds to relatively deep-water canals provides locations to chase fish in any season. In addition to the management area itself, the bordering marsh areas offer similar fishing opportunities.
The heart of the area can be accessed from two main kayak-friendly marinas near Montegut: Point-aux-Chenes Marina at the end of Highway 665 or Isle de Jean Charles Marina on Island Road. There are also two public launches just south of the LDWF headquarters on Highway 665. In addition, there are numerous areas where ‘yakers can “combat” launch off the side of the road.
The eastern side of the area can be accessed by launching at Bason’s in Galliano. Bason’s offers a relatively short paddle into the famed Sulfur Mine and its surrounding areas. This area is regularly shared by paddle craft and powerboats, and offers an endless expanse of protected areas that allow kayakers to fish on even the windiest of days.
Launch from any of these locations, and you’ll immediately be in productive fishing waters. Kayakers can head in virtually any direction and explore miles of secluded fishing areas.
Redfish can be found in PAC along points and cuts throughout the marsh. Working these areas with weedless gold spoons or spinnerbaits will put reds on your stringer. Instead of staying out from shore and casting to the bank, try positioning the kayak so your cast will be parallel to the bank. The shallow draft of the kayak allows you to get in tight to the marsh. Reds prowl close to shore, and this method keeps the lure in more productive water as you retrieve.
One of the benefits of kayak fishing is the ability to quietly glide along without spooking fish. Slowly move from spot-to-spot while keeping an eye out for redfish activity. Peer around each corner looking for a tailing fish or a tell-tale “V-wake.” Don’t overlook any area. Cast into the smallest cut or pocket, and it just might be holding a fat red.
Though primarily designed for bottom feeding, redfish will violently attack topwater baits. However, they will often miss the bait several times before getting hooked. To increase your strike-to-hookup ratio, try downsizing to a smaller plug. Shorter topwater baits like a Spook Jr. or Top Pup have all the action of their larger cousins and are easier for reds to get in their mouths. Shallow-running crankbaits and wake-baits will also do a number on PAC area redfish.
Williamson loves PAC because of the endless kayak fishing areas.
“You can launch once and literally cover miles of protected marsh areas,” he said.
Though topwaters and spinners are PAC favorites, you won’t see Williamson fishing PAC without a popping cork on at least one rod. Be it a live minnow, Gulp bait or a plastic tail, he beats the banks with his cork and almost always ends up with fish slime on his kayak.
Many kayakers use live-bait tanks, tubes or floating buckets to hold a day’s supply of shrimp or minnows. If you fish live bait, try anchoring off of a cut with moving water, and you’ll likely find fish stacked in the area.
PAC is great for even novice kayak anglers.
“You can explore in any direction and fish at your own pace,” Williamson said. “Beginners will find lots of hungry fish, and it’s a great area to build your confidence.”
Although a redfish haven, other species regularly prowl the PAC. Its close proximity to Timbalier and Terrebonne watersheds ensure excellent fishing. Fat flounders are regularly encountered while fishing for reds, and can be caught on most of the same lures and bait.
During the winter, trout will stack up in the deeper holes and bayous. Use a depth finder to locate the deep spots, and get ready to fill the kayak with a mess of trout. The Sulfur Mine area gets crowded, but kayaks and powerboats peacefully coexist to share in the hot trout action the Mine provides.
Kayakers fishing the PAC area are advised that it is heavily hunted during waterfowl season. Courtesy dictates giving hunters a wide berth so as not to disturb their hunts.
If you’ve never fished the Point-aux-Chenes area, you’re missing out on one of Louisiana’s premium paddlecraft-accessible fisheries. Head to PAC, and you will put fish in your yak!